Apple looked back on 30 years of the Macintosh on January 24, marking the anniversary of when Steve Jobs—wearing a bow tie as opposed to his signature black turtleneck—unveiled the first Mac in 1984.
The First Mac
Jobs gave a memorable presentation onstage for the Mac’s debut, in which he unpacked it, plugged it in, and powered it on. The graphical user interface, the mouse’s ease of use, and killer applications like MacWriter were remarkably intuitive and unlike anything users had seen before.
Debuting at $2,495, the first Mac competed with big brands like IBM, which had just joined the personal computer business and was building momentum. One year prior, in 1983, the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program had made $50 million in sales, which cemented computers as mainstream business tools as opposed to hobby appliances.
The first Macs were marketed in much the same way as they are today: easy-to-use tools that mesh seamlessly with our daily lives. What has changed, however, is the price tag: from over $2,000 to less than half that price for some modern-day Macs.
In 1984, personal computing was still young. When the Mac debuted, it changed the industry as people knew it by re-imagining computers and bringing them into people’s homes. Today, people from almost all industries use Macs for a variety of tasks. Apple continues to tweak and improve on current versions, and their usage continues to evolve.
The Mac Timeline
Following the arrival of the first Mac, Apple debuted a new computer each year until 1991: the Macintosh XL in 1985; the Macintosh Plus in 1986; then the Mac 11, 11x, Portable, LC, and PowerBook. The first iMac hit shelves in 1998, and the first iBook in 2000. The next decade saw the release of a variety of different Macs, the latest in the 30 years of the Macintosh being the Mac Pro.
To this day, Apple finds itself on the cutting edge of personal computer technology, still pushing the envelope of what is possible in the industry. The company recently released a video documenting the history of the Mac accompanied by these words: “Thirty years ago, Apple introduced the Macintosh with the promise to put the creative power of technology in everyone’s hands. It launched a generation of innovators who continue to change the world. This thirty-year time line celebrates some of those pioneers and the profound impact they’ve made.”
What features do you think Apple has in store for future Mac versions?
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons